A group calling itself the Concerned Staff of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) have petitioned the board against the Acting Chief Executive, Opoku Ahwenee Danquah accusing him of poor human relations, erratic and reckless behaviour, unprofessional conduct and causing financial loss to the company.
The CEO, a relative and prodigy of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Secretary, Nana Bediatuo Asante, within months of assuming his new role, is allegedly causing a stir at the national oil company in a way many workers, have said if not halted, would make things go out of hand at GNPC.
In a 10-paragraph petition, addressed to the Board Chairman of GNPC and copied to Board Members, Minister for Energy, Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Mines, the workers faulted the Acting CEO as having an erratic behaviour that often sets him in confrontation with experts and management staff, who he should be learning from.
For instance, the petition read in part that “during his onboarding week, the he was seen arguing loudly with experts and appeared not to understand the basic principle of governance, finance audit, and public sector processes. We believe he could have managed his emotions in a more professional manner in dealing with those experts”.
He is also accused of being reckless, presenting to staff financial statements, in which he cited his predecessor for misappropriation, but his claims turned out to be false.
US$100 million concealed
The petition also said “…while he falsely accused his predecessor to have misappropriated the Corporation’s funds of about US$12 million, he smartly concealed the US$100 million funds the Corporation had received from Jubilee Holding Lifting in his financial report”.
Again, Ahwenee Danquah is accused of side-lining General Managers and Deputy Chief Executives, in his daily running of the affairs of GNPC, preferring instead to deal with four officers he has appointed as special aides to interface with them, inviting these darling boys even to sit in Executive Committee (Excom) meetings and in Entity Tender Committee (ETC) meetings.
Furthermore, in clear violation of the guidelines and policy on employee mobility and transfers, the Ag. CEO, is accused of directing the crisscross transfer of thirty (30) employees across the business, without regard for career aspirations and progression.
These mass transfers which have been backdated to take effect from April 1, 2022, the day on which he assumed duty, were carried out, also without prior consultations with even the heads of the affected departments.
Worse still, there is no immediate training plan to properly train some in the new roles assigned, which requires special knowledge and skills.
For instance, an engineer, without any education, training or procurement background has been transferred to head and manage all IT, Works, and Technical Procurement. These the staff believe would affect efficiency and productivity.
Workshop money lost
The GNPC boss’s erratic behaviour and indecision, according to the workers, have resulted in the cancellation of an important workshop by the corporation after postponing it twice, for which the organisation now owe money.
“The Corporation is to pay Royal Senchi Hotel about GHS200,000 for a workshop, which never came on because of his indecision. He postponed the workshop on two occasions and eventually cancelled it and the hotel is rightfully asking GNPC to pay,” the petition stated.
The concerned workers want the board to investigate the accusations against the Acting CEO and call him to order before things get completely out of hands.
Meanwhile, the board members are said to have received copies of the petition but are still not sure who the said concerned staff of GBPC are.
Below is the full petition sent to the board.
PETITION AGAINST MR. OPOKU AHWENEEH DANQUAH, Ag. CEO OF THE GHANA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION
We remain grateful for your support and guidance as the Board of Directors of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation. We would like to bring to your notice, some concerns we have regarding the attitude and conduct of our Acting Chief Executive Officer (Ag.CEO), Mr. Opoku Ahweneeh Danquah, which has created an unhealthy working environment in GNPC, for your quick intervention.
While we admire the personality of Mr. Danquah, his leadership style and approach to issues leave much to be desired. We have therefore provided a few examples of these managerial issues below for your attention.
First, during his onboarding week, the Ag. CEO was seen arguing loudly with experts and appeared not to understand the basic principle of governance, finance audit, and public sector processes. We believe he could have managed his emotion in a more professional manner in dealing with those experts. Further, during the same onboarding week, the financial accounts he presented to staff all turned out to be false. For instance, while he falsely accused his predecessor to have misappropriated the Corporation’s Fund of about 12 million USD, he smartly concealed the 100 million USD funds the Corporation had received from Jubilee Holding Lifting in his financial report.
Second, while we appreciate the employer’s right to formulate policies, and execute plans and programs to set targets, we believe that in carrying out a major change such as a review of organizational structure, an effective change management process must have been followed. In just a few weeks after assuming office, the Ag. CEO appointed four special aides, who have higher responsibilities and authority than his General Managers and deputies have in GNPC. He does not communicate directly to his direct reports but through the aides. These aides now attend ExCom meetings and Entity Tender Committee meetings, which are quite unfortunate.
The aides have also been empowered to micro-manage some departments. This is not surprising because he is usually heard saying that he does not believe and will not adhere to the structure and policies of the Corporation approved by the Board. Indeed, this behavior is contrary to the PROFESSIONALISM Core value of GNPC.
Third, his approach to the subject of employee mobility, especially transfers, is highly inappropriate. In fact, although employee transfer is the right of the employer according to the Labour Act, 2003, Act 651, we are aware that the same Act as well as the internal policies of the Corporation provides some guidelines on transfers, which must be respected. The Ag. CEO has carried out massive transfers, which have affected more than 27 employees. The transfers were done haphazardly without recourse to any prior discussions with even the supervisors and reference to the skillsets of the affected employees.
In effect, most of the affected employees 2 do not have the expertise to manage their new responsibilities, which could lead to performance issues. For instance, an Engineer who does not have any background education and experience in procurement or supply chain management has been transferred to the Supply Chain Department to head and manage all IT, Works, and Technical Procurement. Sadly, there is also no planned training to bring up these affected staff to speed. We have therefore attached a list of the current transfers for your audit and advice.
Additionally, his leadership style is also causing financial loss to the Corporation. The Corporation is to pay Royal Senchi Hotel an amount of about GH 200,000.00 for a workshop the Corporation never attended because of his indecision. He postponed the workshop on two occasions and eventually canceled it and the hotel is rightfully asking GNPC to pay. We believe a consultation with relevant stakeholders on this matter would have averted this financial loss.
Furthermore, employee promotion issues have become a burning issue in the Corporation since the Ag. CEO assumed office. That is to say, he has not dealt with the employee promotion issues effectively. The promotion has stalled due to delays in the process. We know some employees attended interviews conducted by the Board. They have not received feedback on the interviews, yet they are being transferred to other departments on the same scale.
Lastly, he has recently frustrated a manager to resign and has been using this to scare other employees. Employees who come in direct contact with him feel insecure and less motivated.
Indeed, the CEO’s behavior and conduct, and particularly his leadership style have created an unhealthy working environment in GNPC. For instance, the GNPC working environment became so unhealthy absenteeism became the order of the day until the HR Division issued a statement to control it.
At the time of writing this letter, the environment is still charged, and employees are demotivated, uncertain, and feeling insecure, as they do not know what is going to happen next.
The deafening silence of staff in the corporation, especially top management is seriously affecting all activities. The intelligence report we have picked is that, the staff are planning to demonstrate against the Ag. CEO and the Board inability to work on these issues.
We believe the Board would consider these concerns, investigate them, and take action to make the CEO rescind some of his decisions and more importantly change his approach, so we can work together with him. However, if he continues this way, then we are tempted to believe that the Ag. CEO, does not have the capacity to head such a big institution as GNPC.
Concerned Staff of GNPC
Cc: Board Members,
Minister of Energy,
Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Mines
Head of Public Services Commission